Supari case: Police on hot chase of hitman Viju Badiger

Supari case: Police on hot chase of hitman Viju Badiger

December 10, 2017

Bengaluru: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) Police in Bengaluru are on the lookout for Viju Badiger, the brother-in-law of Shashidhar Ramachandra Mundawadagi, allegedly hired by arrested Kannada tabloid ‘Hai Bangalore’ Editor Ravi Belagere to murder Sunil Heggaravalli, one of his former employees.

In his statement to the Police, Mundawadagi said that Belagere had called him in August and asked him to kill Heggaravalli as he had allegedly developed intimacy with Belagere’s second wife. Mundawadagi told the Police that he had told Belagere that he would take care of the planning and Viju Badiger would carry out the execution.

Viju is now on the run and the Police have spread a dragnet to arrest him as he is Accused Number 3 in this case. While Belagere has been named as Accused 2, Mundawadagi has been listed as Accused Number 1. Viju Badiger’s arrest is crucial for the CCB Police to establish the crime and build strong evidence against the accused.

Belagere’s Police custody ends tomorrow and while his lawyers are preparing to seek bail, the Police are presenting a case for the extension of custody so that the high-profile journalist can be interrogated further.


Meanwhile, the firearms recovered from Mundawadagi and arms supplier Tahir Hussain have been sent for forensic test. The weapons have been sent for the test to ascertain the possible involvement of the duo in the killing of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her house in Bengaluru on September 5, they said.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case questioned suspected arms supplier Tahir Hussain, who said he had supplied a pistol to sharpshooter Mundawadagi.

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“At this point, it is difficult to say whether Tahir Hussain and Mundawadagi had a hand in Gauri Lankesh’s murder. The weapon found in the possession of the sharp-shooters has been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory,” said an official.


The CCB sleuths are grilling Ravi Belagere day-in-and-day-out. Belagere is currently lodged at the CCB headquarters. A team headed by a DCP and ACP began the interrogation yesterday morning. A senior officer from the CCB said that during the interrogation Belagere had confessed to a personal rivalry with his former colleague Sunil Heggaravalli. But he told the Police that he had not given his weapon to sharpshooter Shashidhar Mundawadagi.

“It is too early to reveal the details of our investigation as we are gathering all evidence to establish that Belagere had given ‘Supari’ to Mundawadagi to kill Heggaravalli. We believe that it is a well-planned crime and efforts are on to nab some more accused in the sensational case,” the officer said. During interrogation, Belagere reportedly asked the Police for blank papers in order to write down his statement for the CCB. The officer added, “He also kept asking for cigarettes but the ACP did not allow him to smoke repeatedly.”


Police sources said that the plot to kill Heggaravalli was hatched in 2014. Shashidhar Mundawadagi had worked as a security supervisor at Prarthana School run by Belagere and also as a helper at the tabloid office.

Mundawadagi was involved in crimes in Bagalkot and Belagavi and came in contact with Belagere when the journalist was writing a book in 2001. Belagere also helped him secure bail and provided some legal help. He soon grew close to Belagere.

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In 2011, Mundawadagi was appointed as security supervisor in a post that was created for him at Prarthana School. His job at the school was to manage a set of guards.

He would visit the newspaper office daily when Sunil Heggaravalli was working there. Heggaravalli was aware of his criminal record. One year after working at the school, Shashi, as Mundawadagi was popularly known, quit his job and returned to his hometown.


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